SAFFORD — Slightly more than two months after being named interim exectuive director, Vance Bryce had “interim” removed from his title by the Graham County Chamber of Commerce.
Bryce was named executive director Thursday.
Supporting local business, tourism and giving back to the community are all key elements Bryce said he wants to focus on.
“Tourism can’t happen in a vacuum,” Bryce said. “I’m wanting to keep the wine festivals going and then hopefully bring back Mrs. Graham County. We have a lot of groundwork to do.”
Bryce said he hopes to encourage tourism by creating events that the locals enjoy first and then inviting outsiders to join in on the fun. Bryce’s first event was the Summer Block Party on the 400 block of Safford’s Main Street on June 14-15.
Bryce told the Courier said that when it comes to supporting local business, he wants to focus on business retention and to find out what the locals of Graham County really want.
Lastly, Bryce said he wants to use the chamber to give back to the community through healthy food education. Money budgeting, educating the community about healthy food and even growing a garden are all aspects he is hoping to introduce to local families free of charge.
The executive director position became open April 26, when Michah Windsor, who was hired four months previously, resigned. Bryce previously served as the assistant director under Windsor. When Bryce was named interim executive director, the chamber brought on Brianna DeRusha Morris, owner of Creative Flow Studios in Safford’s Downtown, as executive assistant.
“I am working on local first and a three-year action plan. I’ve had a meeting with the Thatcher, Safford, Pima mayors and the county manager as to what type of goals I want to set up for the chamber,” Bryce said. “One goal is collaboration, I want to get everyone together on who is doing what.”
Bryce is the sixth person to hold the position of executive director/interim executive director for the Graham County Chamber of Commerce since 2013.
Bryce is a Thatcher High School graduate, attended Brigham Young University and previously worked as an aide to U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif.
Morris also graduated from Thatcher High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing management from Western Governor’s University.